Body flexibility and incident hypertension: The Niigata wellness study

Yuko Gando, Susumu S. Sawada, Haruki Momma, Ryoko Kawakami, Motohiko Miyachi, I. Min Lee, Steven N. Blair, Minoru Tashiro, Chika Horikawa, Yasuhiro Matsubayashi, Takaho Yamada, Kazuya Fujihara, Kiminori Kato, Hirohito Sone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


A high level of physical fitness, especially cardiorespiratory fitness, is associated with lower incidence of hypertension. However, the relationship between flexibility, which is a component of physical fitness, and the incidence of hypertension is unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between flexibility and the incidence of hypertension in a cohort study. A total of 22,972 (14,805 men and 8167 women; median age 49 years) normotensive participants were included in this study. Between April 2001 and March 2002, flexibility (standing forward bending) was measured using a standing trunk flexion meter. The participants were divided into quartiles of flexibility by sex and age group. Hypertension was defined as systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mm Hg, or a self-reported history of previously diagnosed hypertension or current medication for hypertension at a health examination between April 2002 and March 2008. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for the incidence of hypertension were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models after adjusting for age, sex, body mass index, exercise habits, smoking status, and drinking status. During 102,948 person years of follow-up (median 5.6 years), 4235 participants developed hypertension. Compared with the lowest flexibility (quartile 1), hazard ratios and 95% CI were 0.96 (0.88 − 1.04) for quartile 2, 0.94 (0.86 − 1.03) for quartile 3, and 0.83 (0.76 − 0.91) for quartile 4. A high level of flexibility was associated with lower incidence of hypertension, independent of other confounding factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-709
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar


  • blood pressure
  • cohort studies
  • flexion test
  • physical fitness
  • risk assessment
  • stiffness


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